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Monday 31 March 2014

Doctor Day and Limited Access

I shall not be online today. Pray for my appointments, please. Ta muchly.

Prayers Today for A Special Group

Join me in prayer today for three couples who I know who have been unable to conceive.

God bless them with children.


Munds, Part Three

Dowry money in the Hebrew is called מֹהַר, or mohar. This is the money paid to the family of the woman, the wedding money. This word is found in many contexts in the Scriptures, such as in Genesis, Esther, Malachi, and the Song of Songs, to mention some.

Another word is similar, the zebed, or זֶבֶד, the wedding money or gift given by the woman to the man.

Now, remember that the name Zebedee comes from this word, zebed, gift. 

John and James were the Sons of Zebedee, the sons of gift. This word is also found in numerous books of the Bible, including some of the above.

Now, the name implies that the man is the gift given back to the husband by the woman, the wife and mother. So, the Sons of Zebedee are the children of the man of the dowry, the endowment or gift.

Nice. And, Zebedee becomes the name Edmund in the Anglo-Saxon.

Every child is a gift. Every child is an endowment and receives in baptism an endowment of grace.

It is the duty of the parent to protect that endowment, and like any investment, make it grow.

Such is virtue training.

Gifts are to be cherished and given back to God.

Have you given your children back to God? Are you training them to be gifts to the world?

A long time ago, I gave my child to God and to Mary. And, I heard God answer me, "I give you England in your son. You will always have England." God knows how much I love England. Why, I do not know.

I just have to get back there to claim my dowry, which is really Mary's Dowry, England. She just wants to share a little bit of England with me.

Prayers, please

Complications of eye surgeries. Prayers please. Find out in the next two days if I need more surgery.


Sunday 30 March 2014

On Munds, Part Two of Three

Tacitus in his work on the Germans, writes about munds. In one place, Tacitus writes that a mund is equal to five cows. Here is Iowa, that would amount to 4,000 USD for a prime Black Angus, but up to 100,000 USD for a show cow. Not a bad mund...

,...marriage in Germany is austere, and there is no feature in their morality that deserves higher praise. They are almost unique among barbarians in being satisfied with one wife each. The exceptions, which are exceedingly rare, are of men who receive offers of many wives because of their rank; there is no question of sexual passion. The dowry is brought by husband to wife, not by wife to husband. Parents and kinsmen attend and approve of the gifts, gifts not chosen to please a woman's whim or gaily deck a young bride, but oxen, horse with reins, shield, spear and sword. For such gifts a man gets his wife, and she in her turn brings some present of arms to her husband. In this interchange of gifts they recognize the supreme bond, the holy mysteries, the presiding deities of marriage. A woman must not imagine herself free to neglect the manly virtues or immune from the hazards of war. That is why she is reminded, in the very ceremonies which bless her marriage at its outset, that she is coming to share a man's toils and dangers, that she is to be his partner in all his sufferings and adventures, whether in peace or war. That is the meaning of the team of oxen, of the horse ready for its rider, of the gift of arms. On these terms she must live her life and bear her children. She is receiving something that she must hand over unspoilt and treasured to her children, for her son's wives to receive in their turn and pass on to the grandchildren.

Cows or land seem like good munds to me.

And, the ladies had the right to pass on their munds to their children or grandchildren.

Hmmm, I missed out on something here.  I could have bought a comfortable house in Spain for four Black Angus show cows!


On Munds, Part One

The tradition of dowry has changed and in been in flux for centuries. The exchanging of swords became a sign of trust between a past enemy and the new friend. In the Icelandic annals, a new sword became a symbol of this old one of trust. The new sword could have been purchased by the new husband who would give it to his new wife. He could have been returning her father's sword, given to him, or he and she would have exchange swords.

By the time these customs were written down, the original customs had faded.

Why I am writing about this is that this type of thing is called a mund. The mund was a security for the woman, who was given land for her own posterity, so in case the man died, the widow would have something to live on. The mund is found in Beowulf, where it is called a "spear dowry", which would have been a cache of weapons. Weapons had a stable value. One could always sell these off, if needed. Would not a widow keep the weapons and pass these on to her son. The sons inherited stuff from the father, but so did the woman, for her upkeep and security.

The woman would not have to rely on brothers or uncles, which was a good thing. My saint, Etheldreda, had her own land ownership. As one betrothed, she had that security.specifically the male dowry. It's a Scandinavian concept, one made a promise of land, and if one broke the engagement or popped off that becomes the property of the woman betrothed and her family

The betrothal ceremony was extremely important, and legally binding. Christianity became controversial in some cultures, as it changed the emphasis from the engagement to the marriage. But, in England and in Germany, both stayed important.

The mund of the woman was usually money and that of the man, land. See an example, below.

What a great idea. The word mund is found in many Anglo-Saxon names, such as Edmund, Osmund, Garmund, Sigmund and others which include mund.

Mund means guardian, which is the shield for the wife. This is the security for the wife.

Any prefix makes sense with mund. Edmund means goodly or cute guardian. Ed is short from Edel, which means princely, or great. Etheldreda is from the same root, Ed being the diminutive.

Sigmund means victorious guardian, implying mund gotten in war.

Osmund means godly guardian, like the wonderful wizard Os was a pagan god of the Anglo-Saxons.

In the first episode of By the Sword Divided, one sees played out in the series the old Anglo-Saxon idea of mund in the betrothal of Anne Lacey and John Fletcher, wherein, the fathers set the terms: Sir Martin Lacey gives money and Austin Fletcher gives lots of land, ships, and stuff from the New World.

Unless there were invasions, civil war, or pigginess from such monarchs as Henry VIII, who stole many a woman's mund, a woman could expect to have her mund until she died.

(Notes from Edmund. To be continued...)

Happy Mum's Day to All Brit and EU Mums

To all mums in Britain and the EU, have a great day.

Thanks be to God for children.  And, thank you, Mother Mary, for saying "Yes" to God.

Mother's Day comes from the Medieval "Lady's Day" which was the celebration of The Annunciation extended to all mums on the nearest Sunday after March 25th.

It is NOT a Hallmark invention.

Be good to your mums today.

I wish a happy day to the mums I know and love in England, Ireland, the EU. Carole, Jenna, Ursula, Elizabeth, Lynda and many others.

It is an honor to be a mum.

Wow and thanks to Peter for the heads-up

EWTN Waking Up?

No Cricket for miles and miles and miles

Glad I have cricket on twitter...

Hey, I want one of these...on a little patch of English soil

Good one for the BBC

While the American media is silent. Thanks to Spencer for the heads-up on this report.

Noah Update Two

Strong words...“Noah” is an insult to Bible-believing Christians, an insult to the character of Noah, and most of all, an insult to the God of the Bible. As a result, I believe Hollywood will have a much harder time in marketing future biblically themed movies to Christians.

Looks like a missed opportunity....Aronofsky may be trying to exorcise his own Jewish roots--too bad.

Another look...

On Asthma

Only twice in my long life have I had such a horrible time with asthma.

The first time I "got" asthma was in 2010, living in Missouri. That bout lasted from January to March first.

The second horrible bout has come this year, from January, up to and including, this very day.

I have no idea what triggers this asthma. All I know is that I am severely impacted by certain conditions in rural Missouri and Iowa. What these triggers are, I do not know.

I have never had asthma in Ireland, Great Britain, or Malta. Go figure.

One of my nurse friends tells me that the sea water is good for people with lung and bronchial problems.

Could be. But, God in His Wisdom has me plunked down in rural Iowa, surrounded by fields and in sight of a misty river.

Hmmm. Perhaps, someday, I may be able to afford allergy tests, but not this day.

I pray for all those who have asthma and allergies. I ask God to have mercy on us all and heal us.

One of the worst aspects of this disease is sleep deprivation. One cannot sleep when one is coughing or wheezing.

I have some friends with asthma and today, I think and pray for you. Please pray for me.

I would much rather be by that sea and salt air.

On Oedipus

In the past two months, I have been tutoring off and on in English Lit, Composition, the Novel, Poetry and Greek Drama.

Yesterday, I asked my student to watch the fantastic version of Oedipus Rex, from Toronto, directed by Tyrone Guthrie and featuring a famous Treker in the chorus, William Shatner.

One can watch it here.

This rendition of the play is famous for using Greek masks. Only one other place I know uses the traditional Greek masks, and that is the Genesius Guild, right here in the Quad Cities. Here is the website for the Genesius Guild.

I had forgotten, having shown this version to my students in 1980, that the Toronto version opened with someone referring to the "symbolic" actions of the Mass. How Catholic Canada was in 1957, or how Anglican, to use the Mass and the re-enactment of Calvary as a starting place for a Greek play. Of course, for centuries, Catholics have seen this play as moral enough to teach virtues, those same virtues praised by Aristotle and held by the Greeks to be necessary for the peace of the polis.

Ironically, both Canada and the States reveal a deeper aspect of paganism than the Greeks ever experience.

The fullness of Revelation had not been given to the Greeks, but to the Hebrews. That the Greeks knew so much about salvation, suffering, morality, and the reparation for sin was a knowledge given to them via both natural law and reason. Reason, the great gift to humans, provided the Greeks with insights into the soul, the mind, the intellect, the imagination.

In our day and age, we see a huge falling off of both the belief in natural law and the belief that reason, one way in which we are made in the Image and Likeness of God, can lead one to moral norms.

The present generations prove to be more pagan than the pagans of ancient Greece. Would today's pagans howl like Oedipus, when he discovered his sins, or rationalize these sins, or worse, accept these sins, patricide and incest, as normal?

The terrible truth of the generations which live today centers on the fact that, unlike Sophocles, these people have been shown the Truth and rejected the Truth.

God has been mocked. Oedipus took on himself his own sins and went into exile. Christ has taken our sins upon Himself and we have made Him go into exile, but marginalizing Christianity from our cultures, our politics, our homes.

I suggest that God will deal much harsher with those who have had the chance to accept Christianity, than with those who lived before Christ.

Saturday 29 March 2014

Again, On Common Rotten to the Core

If you have not watched the video on Common Core placed on this blog, then do so. The message is loud and clear.

Catholic Parents, if you are sending your child to a school which has adopted this plan, you will be severely judged according to this passage below. The parents are the primary educators of their children, and those children either are formed in the Truth or not, according to our efforts.

Most of my usual readers know that I home schooled, both in England and in the States. I began home schooling in 1991. Some of the laws for home schooling have eased up over the years in certain states. Some of the laws in some countries have forbidden home schooling.

Your children do not belong to the State to form, but to God. You are to form them in God's ways, and the thinking of the Catholic Church.

What children will get in a school which abides by the CC is contrary to the formation of virtues, the formation of conscience as a Catholic, the learning to think like a Catholic, and the freedom to live as a Catholic.

You cannot cooperate with evil when it comes to your children's souls.

Do you want your children to think like the secular State? Send them to CC schools.

Do you want your children to not learn how to think independently but only mouth the "belief" of the State?
Send them to a CC school.

Do you want your children to lose their baptismal Faith? Send them to a CC school.

Matthew 18

18 At that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying: Who thinkest thou is the greater in the kingdom of heaven?
And Jesus calling unto him a little child, set him in the midst of them,
And said: Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven.
And he that shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me.
But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea.
Woe to the world because of scandals. For it must needs be that scandals come: but nevertheless woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh.

And if thy hand, or thy foot scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee to go into life maimed or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire.
And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee having one eye to enter into life, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
10 See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.

A Can of Worms in Ireland

Noah Updates

I would imagine that after the Los Angeles earthquake, more people will be open to the Bible. But, remember. This movie is entertainment, not a theological exegesis.

Nothing quite like the end of the world scene in Noah starting and 20 seconds later your movie theater starts shaking from an earthquake.

For Those Without Community

I have written many, many posts on how to set up community and how to "pod". Sadly, I can see that the two generations under me have real difficulties with the idea of community. I have met a few who understand and are open to this, praise God, but the vast majority do not budge or see the signs of the times.

For those of you, especially single women, who are isolated and without support, and for those elderly who have no support groups, I encourage you to think of these options.

One, become perfect, become holy. Read the perfection series, Read the Doctors of the Church series. Know that your way may be one of green martyrdom-that is, to suffer without help. This means you must be strong and holy.

Two, pray for the Catholic men who cannot see beyond their own castles and own egos. So many women tell me that they want community but their husbands do not. One mother I know has started a mini-community, as her husband is one-hundred-percent in favor of such an endeavor. There house is full of people and they discuss both how to become holy and how to face the days to come.

Three, pray for priests, who will be persecuted, that they begin to think outside the box and realize the times. They will need to be sheltered and aided by the laity.

I am actually sad more young people cannot see the need and the times to come. Perhaps is it because they did not grow up in big families and are not open to lots of people around. One of my closest friends grew up in a three bedroom house with eleven children, a mom and a dad. Families like this were not unusual after WWII. One of his sisters is a saint in heaven, and one of his aunts was a saintly member of Mother Angelica's order. Saints come out of hardship.

He told me he grew up sleeping in the living room.  Now, he has his own house and is retired, but is one of the kindliest men in our TLM community.

God bless those who understand that the early Church was not "individualistic" but geared towards the ideals of family and friendship in the Lord.

On Anonymous Commentators

I have put the note on the side for over two years on not accepting anonymous comments. Most are derogatory, rude, and even hateful. In fact, most hateful comments, which are not posted, are from Anon...

If a person wants to make a real comment which adds to the discussion, that person must use a name. I am beginning to think at least one "Anonymous" is the same cowardly person who makes horrible personal comments. Same spelling errors....

If a commentator wants to be part of any discussion, please get a name, reader.

As to some of the valid comments under Anonymous, no more...shall I post these, as the same rule applied to all.

A few notes, however, bearing on comments by Anons.

One, read carefully. If I write "too many" of the laity only want to do clerical things, like being Eucharistic Minister, I am not saying "all" should not do so. Priests in many areas cannot get to hospitals for Communion, for example, and a duly trained, duly appointed lay person may be able to do this, if there are no clerics available, such as deacons. Some of my readers do not read carefully, which is a sign of the times. If a lay person is only doing clerical jobs, he is not living up to his baptismal promises.

I do not see clerical positions in this command given to all those who witnessed the Ascension.

Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Matthew 28:19 DR

Two, read my previous posts and ones recently re-posted or referred to on certain non-medically approved practices. Read, again, carefully. I ask again one question. Would you trust someone whose method is based on ideas gotten in a seance?

Three, compliance to Fatima is not our business, but the Pope's business. Someone compared the lay involvement to that to St. Catherine of Siena talking the Pope into returning to Rome.

When someone is a saint the caliber of Catherine, one can do such things. Sorry, MYOB, and do what the laity are called to do. We have not been instructed by Mary to do what she told the three saints at Fatima to do.  And, if you read Lucia's letters, you may change your mind. End of discussion.

Four, if the laity are not doing the job we are all called to do, the Church is weakened and will not grow. The New Evangelization is "our" call, to bring back those who have left and to evangelize in the workplace.

Five, if you add your name to the end of something labelled Anonymous, I cannot see it until after publication. The Anonymous category is what I shall go by in the future, and not hope for a name at the end. Please follow directions as to how to set up a blog name. Thanks.


....was a sixteen post day. Take time and enjoy.

On The Dark Night Again

Purification is not to be confused with despair. One does think and even feel like one may be damned while one is experiencing the Dark Night. But, that is normal. To finally realize that one deserves to be damned for one's sins is pure gift.

The first realization of one's unworthiness reveals that one finds one's self, indeed, in the Dark Night.

That realization should bring about humility and, eventually, thankfulness.

Such are the purifications of the Dark Night that one finally doubts one's worth and one's false feelings.

Purification cannot be comfortable.

Read the long post series on the Dark Night, if you have not done so. Many begin in June of last year.

View from My Window But Not Today

Friday 28 March 2014

Answering A Question Related to The Dark Night

The Dark Night seriously involves the purification of the emotions.

That is one of the main points of the Dark Night.

One no longer desires to be religious, or holy.

One no longer "feels" the Presence of God or "feels" like one loves God.

These false feelings must be struck dead.

Feelings belie faith and in the Dark Night, one lives in faith only.

That is the point.

To live by faith and in the will is to really love God.

No desires, no consolations, not a moment of "fun"....

But, if one perseveres in faith, one will encounter God.

The ego has to die.

Why am I not surprised?

Hmmm, the liar in chief's account of Rome visit differs from official Vatican statement

The Vatican, however, issued a statement after the meeting saying the president’s discussions with Francis and two other top Vatican officials focused “on questions of particular relevance for the [Catholic] Church in [the United States], such as the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection” — issues that have fueled divisions between Mr. Obama and the church.

Read more:

I blame the parents for ignoring religion

Journalists Under Attack

big post day--thirteen so far

A Pig Day--but not to eat on a Friday.....

Can you guess why a pig day?

Some of us knew the face of this man in 2004

On Mis-Information and What To Do

A friend of mine and I had a fascinating discussion last week on the growing use of false information in most, if not all, the main stream media.

Many of us have seen this, including myself, as I taught media control in a college class in 2010. The manipulation of news has been known since the hay-day of yellow journalism, a la Citizen Kane. 

Also, I have been involved in newspaper writing in the past, so I know of some of this first-hand. Journalism demands honesty, but too often is taken over by agendas and propagandists.

However, what my friend stressed, was the purposeful feeding of mis-information to even so-called independent news sources, including radio and television.

I have been suspicious of some news and wondered about this second, and even third level, of false news, false reporting, false statistics and so on.

The UN is one of the main sources of falsified information, as the Malthusian philosophy holds sway in that organization. Other big groups, such as "charities" funded by Bill Gates, also take part in mis-information for the sake of population control in the Third World.

In the past year, those of us who are "Vatican Watchers" have seen the continual misuse of information from such sources as La Stampa and L'Osservatore Romano.

Check this out for mis-information. The headline makes me sick. This is manipulation loud and clear.

So, what is a good Catholic to do?

One, be holy and hone one's discernment. See my blogs on this. Here is one link.

Two, choose news sources carefully and use common sense.

Three, always, always, always compare news items and editorials with the Teaching Magisterium of the Church.

Four, be cautious and wise. Pray daily for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to be operative in your life

Five, do not, I repeat, do not watch television. All the news is manipulated on that media.

Six, follow reliable sources by looking at the author's philosophies.

More on this later...

I thought the Air Force was the best branch?


Home School Warning

By attacking the rights of homeschoolers, this Administration has succeeded in undermining, for its own future benefit, the legal status of homeschooling. According to this Administration, homeschooling isn’t worth defending in the international context. Indeed, the Administration now is “on record” (and victorious, thanks to a short-sighted Supreme Court) claiming that governments have the right to use compulsive public schooling as a tool of “socialization” in the ways of secular society. It seems, then, that whenever the foes of homeschooling decide they have the time and support to move against it, they will have precedent on their side.
Homeschoolers and their organizations were understandably up in arms when the Supreme Court refused to hear the Romeikes’ appeal of the decision revoking their asylum. Some even threatened legislative and other public action. We should be thankful for the Romeikes’ sake that such action was not necessary. But the decision to hold off deporting them seems much more a declaration of victory on the part of the Obama Administration than any meaningful compromise.
More on link...

Not surprised

and what about other animals?

The Lord Is Nigh to Those Who Call upon Him

Part Two from Garrigou-Lagrange on prayer....

We have just seen the nature of the first principle of the efficacy of prayer. We shall now consider the end to which it is ordained by God, what it can obtain for us.
The end to which Providence has ordained prayer as a means, is the obtaining of the gifts of God necessary to sanctification and salvation; for prayer is a cause which has its place in the life of souls, as heat and electricity have their place in the physical order. Now the end of the life of the soul is eternal life, and the goods which direct us to it are of two kinds: spiritual goods, which lead us to it directly; and temporal goods, which can be indirectly useful to salvation in the measure in which they are subordinated to the first.
Spiritual goods are habitual and actual grace, the virtues, the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost, and merits, the fruits of the virtues and of the gifts. According to what we have just said, humble, trusting, persevering prayer is all-powerful to obtain for the sinner the grace of conversion and for the just man actual grace that he may persevere in the performance of his duties. Prayer, made under the same conditions, is all-powerful to obtain for us also a more lively faith, a firmer hope, a more ardent charity, a greater fidelity to our vocation. The first petition we should make, as the Our Father points out, is that the name of God may be sanctified, glorified by a radiating faith; that His kingdom may come is the object of hope; that His will may be done, fulfilled with love, by an ever purer and stronger charity.
Moreover, prayer can obtain our daily bread for us in the measure in which it is necessary or useful for salvation, the supersubstantial bread of the Eucharist and the suitable dispositions to receive it well. Besides, prayer obtains for us the pardon of our sins and disposes us to pardon our neighbor; it preserves us from temptation or gives us the strength to triumph over it.
To accomplish all this, prayer must have the indicated conditions: it must be sincere, humble (it is a poor man who is asking), trusting in the infinite goodness, which it must not doubt, persevering, in order to be the expression of a profound desire of our hearts. Such was the prayer of the woman of Canaan, whom the Gospel mentions and to whom Christ said: "O woman, great is thy faith. Be it done to thee as thou wilt." (19)

Even if the Lord leaves us contending with great difficulties from which we have prayed Him to deliver us, we must not believe that we are not heard. The simple fact that we continue to pray shows that God is helping us, for without a new actual grace we would not continue to pray. He leaves us to battle with these difficulties in order to inure us to warfare. He wishes to show us that the struggle is profitable for us and that, as He said to St. Paul in similar circumstances, the grace granted us suffices to continue a struggle in which the very strength of the Lord, which is the source of ours, is more clearly shown: "My grace is sufficient for thee: for power is made perfect in infirmity." (20) We see this especially in the passive purifications of the senses and the spirit, which are at times a spiritual tempest, in which we must continually ask for efficacious grace, which alone can prevent us from weakening.
In regard to temporal goods, prayer can obtain for us all those which should, in one way or another, assist us in our journey toward eternity: our daily bread, health, strength, the success of our enterprises. Prayer can obtain everything, on condition that over and above all else we ask God for greater love of Him: "Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God and His justice, and all these things shall be added unto you." (21) If we do not obtain these temporal goods, it is because they are not useful to our salvation; if our prayer is well made, we obtain a more precious grace in place of them.
"The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him." (22) And the prayer of petition, if it is truly a lifting up of the soul to God, prepares the soul for a more intimate prayer of adoration, reparation, and thanksgiving, and for the prayer of union.

As the seed cause growth, so prayer causes the Mercy of God to open towards us

One of two long quotations from Garrigou-Lagrange on prayer......

The question of the efficacy of prayer interests all souls without distinction: those who are beginning, those who have made progress, and even those in the state of mortal sin, for though the sinner who has lost sanctifying grace cannot merit, he can always pray.
Merit, being a right to a reward, is related to divine justice; (1) prayer, on the other hand, is addressed to divine mercy, which often hears and grants it and lifts up the soul without any merit on its part; thus it raises up souls that have fallen into the state of spiritual death. The most wretched man, from the depths of the abyss into which he has fallen, can utter this cry to mercy, which is prayer. The beggar who possesses nothing but his poverty can pray in the very name of his wretchedness, and, if he puts his whole heart into his petition, mercy inclines toward him; the abyss of wretchedness calls to that of mercy. The soul is raised up, and God is glorified. We should recall the conversion of Magdalen; let us also remember the prayer of Daniel for Israel: "Thou hast executed true judgments in all the things that Thou hast brought upon us . . . for we have sinned and committed iniquity. . . . Deliver us not up forever, we beseech Thee, for Thy name's sake." (2) The psalms are filled with these petitions: "But I am needy and poor; O God, help me. Thou art my helper and my deliverer: O Lord, make no delay." (3) "Help us, O God, our Savior; and for the glory of Thy name, O Lord, deliver us: and forgive us our sins for Thy name's sake." (4) "Thou art my helper and my protector: and in Thy word I have greatly hoped. . . . Uphold me according to Thy word, and I shall live: and let me not be confounded in my expectation." (5)
Do we believe in the power of prayer? When temptation threatens to make us fall, when light does not shine in us, when the cross is hard to carry, do we have recourse to prayer, as Christ advised us to? Do we not doubt its efficacy, if not in principle at least in practice? Yet we know Christ's promise: "Ask, and it shall be given you." (6) We know the common teaching of theologians: that true prayer, by which we ask for ourselves with humility, confidence, and perseverance the graces necessary for our salvation, is infallibly efficacious.(7) We know this doctrine, and yet it seems to us at times that we have truly prayed without being heard.
We believe in, or rather we see, the power of a machine, of an army, of money, and of knowledge; but we do not believe strongly enough in the efficacy of prayer. The power of that intellectual force which is knowledge, we see by its results; there is nothing very mysterious about it, for we know whence this power comes and approximately whither it goes. It is acquired by human means and produces effects that remain within human limits. If, on the contrary, prayer is in question, we believe too weakly in it, because we do not know clearly whence it comes and we forget whither it is going.
Let us recall the source of the efficacy of prayer and the end to which it is ordained, what it ought to obtain; in other words, its first principle and its end.
The sources of rivers are high up; the waters of the heavens and the fountain of the snows feed their streams. A river is first a torrent which descends from the mountains before irrigating the valley and casting itself into the sea. This is a figure of the loftiness of the source of the efficacy of prayer.
At times we seem to believe that prayer is a force which should have its first principle in ourselves, one by which we would try to bend the will of God by persuasion. Immediately our thought encounters the following difficulty, often formulated by unbelievers, in particular by the deists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: namely, no one can move, no one can bend the will of God. God is indeed Goodness which asks only to give itself, Mercy ever ready to come to the help of him who suffers. But God is also perfectly immutable Being. The divine will is from all eternity as immovable as it is merciful. No one can boast of having enlightened God, of having made Him change His will: "I am the Lord, and I change not." (8) By the decrees of Providence, the order of things and of events is strongly and gently established from all eternity.(9) Must we conclude from this, with fatalism, that prayer can do nothing, that it is too late, that whether we pray or not, what is to happen will happen?
The words of Holy Scripture remain, and the interior life must ever penetrate them more deeply: "Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you." (10)
Prayer is not, in fact, a force having its first principle in us; it is not an effort of the human soul, trying to do violence to God in order to make Him change His providential dispositions. Such a manner of speaking, which is used occasionally, is a metaphorical, human way of expressing oneself. In reality, the will of God is absolutely immutable, but this superior immutability is precisely the source of the infallible efficacy of prayer.
Fundamentally it is very simple in spite of the mystery of grace involved in it. We have here a combination of the clear and the obscure that is most captivating and beautiful. First of all, we shall consider what is clear: true prayer is infallibly efficacious because God, who cannot contradict Himself, has decreed that it should be.(11) This is what the contemplation of the saints examines profoundly.
A God who would not have willed and foreseen from all eternity the prayers that we address to Him, is a conception as puerile as that of a God who would change His plans, bowing before our will.
Not only all that happens has been foreseen and willed (or at least permitted) in advance by a providential decree, but the way things happen, the causes which produce events; all is fixed from all eternity by Providence. For material harvests, God prepared the seed, the rain that must help it to germinate, the sun that will ripen the fruits of the earth. Likewise for spiritual harvests, He has prepared spiritual seeds, the divine graces necessary for sanctification and salvation. In all orders, from the lowest to the highest, in view of certain effects God prepares the causes that must produce them.
Prayer is precisely a cause ordained to produce this effect: the obtaining of the gifts of God. All creatures exist only by the gifts of God, but the intellectual creature alone can realize this. Existence, health, physical strength, the light of the intellect, moral energy, success in our enterprises, all is the gift of God; but especially is this true of grace which leads to salutary good, causes it to be accomplished, and gives strength to persevere. Grace and, even more, the Holy Ghost who has been sent to us and who is the source of living water, is the gift par excellence which Christ spoke of to the Samaritan woman: "If thou didst know the gift of God, and who He is that saith to thee: Give Me to drink; thou perhaps wouldst have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water. . . . Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again; but he that shall drink of the water that I will give him shall not thirst forever. But the water that I will give him shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into life everlasting." (12)
The intellectual creature alone is able to realize that it can live naturally and supernaturally only by the gift of God. Must we, then, be astonished that divine Providence has willed that man should ask for alms, since he can understand that he lives only on alms?
Here, as elsewhere, God wills first of all the final effect; then He ordains the means or the causes which must produce it. After having decided to give, He decides that we shall pray in order to receive, as a father, who has resolved in advance to bestow a pleasure on his children, purposes to make them ask for it. The gift of God is a result; prayer is the cause ordained to obtain it. St. Gregory the Great says: "Men ought by prayer to dispose themselves to receive what Almighty God from eternity has decided to give them." (13) Thus Christ, wishing to convert the Samaritan woman, led her to pray by saying to her: "If thou didst know the gift of God!" In the same way, He granted Magdalen a strong and gentle actual grace which inclined her to repentance and to prayer. He acted in the same manner toward Zacheus and the good thief. It is, therefore, as necessary to pray in order to obtain the help of God, which we need to do good and to persevere in it, as it is necessary to sow seed in order to have wheat. To those who say that what was to happen would happen, whether they prayed or not, the answer must be made that such a statement is as foolish as to maintain that whether we sowed seed or not, once the summer came, we would have wheat. Providence affects not only the results, but the means to be employed, and in addition it differs from fatalism in that it safeguards human liberty by a grace as gentle as it is efficacious, fortiter et suaviter. Without a doubt, an actual grace is necessary in order to pray; but this grace is offered to all, and only those who refuse it are deprived of it.(14)
Therefore prayer is necessary to obtain the help of God, as seed is necessary for the harvest. Even more, though the best seed, for lack of favorable exterior conditions, can produce nothing, though thousands of seeds are lost, true, humble, trusting prayer, by which we ask for ourselves what is necessary for salvation, is never lost. It is heard in this sense, that it obtains for us the grace to continue praying.
The efficacy of prayer well made is infallibly assured by Christ: "Ask, and it shall be given you: seek and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. . . . And which of you, if he ask his father bread, will he give him a stone? Or a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? . . . If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father from heaven give the good Spirit to them that ask Him?" (15) To the apostles He also says: "Amen, amen I say to you: if you ask the Father anything in My name, He will give it to you. Hitherto you have not asked anything in My name." (16) Prayerful souls ought more than all others to live by this doctrine, which is elementary for every Christian; by living it, one discovers its depths.
Let us, therefore, have confidence in the efficacy of prayer. It is not only a human force which has its first principle in us; the source of its efficacy is in God and in the infinite merits of Christ. It descends from an eternal decree of love, it reascends to divine mercy. A fountain of water rises only if the water descends from an equal height. Likewise when we pray, it is not a question of persuading God, of inclining Him to change His providential dispositions; rather we have only to lift our will to the height of His in order to will with Him in time what He has decided from all eternity to grant us. Far from tending to bring the Most High down toward us, "prayer is a lifting up of the soul toward God," as the fathers say. When we pray and are heard, it seems to us that the will of God inclines toward us; on the contrary, it is ours which rises; we begin to will in time what God willed for us from all eternity.
Hence, far from being opposed to the divine governance, prayer cooperates in it. We are two who will instead of one. And when, for example, we have prayed much in order to obtain a conversion and have been heard, we can say that it is certainly God who converted this soul, but who deigned to associate us with Him and from all eternity had decided to make us pray that this great grace might be obtained.
Thus we cooperate in our salvation by asking for ourselves the graces necessary to attain it; among these graces, some, such as that of final perseverance, cannot be merited,(17) but are obtained by humble, trusting, and persevering prayer. Likewise, efficacious grace, which preserves us from mortal sin and keeps us in the state of grace, is not merited; otherwise we would merit the very principle of merit (the continued state of grace); but it can be obtained by prayer. Moreover, the actual and efficacious grace of loving contemplation, although, properly speaking, not merited de condigno, is obtained by prayer: "Wherefore I wished, and understanding was given me: and I called upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came upon me." (18)
Even when we are trying to obtain the grace of conversion for another, who perhaps resists it, the greater the number of persons who pray and the more each one perseveres in prayer, the more hope there is of obtaining this grace of conversion. Prayer thus greatly cooperates in the divine governance.

Almost From My Window

The March Sky-Two Castors

Castor and Pollux are still obvious in the night sky here.

Interesting to me is that SS. Castor and Dorotheus have their feast day today. They were martyrs from St. Paul's home, Tarsus.

Nothing is known of them. But, the twins in the heavens remind me of these stars of Heaven.

Repeats on Marriage and Chaos


Thursday 27 March 2014

Reader Alert

Solemn Vespers for Lætare Sunday (EF) at Saint Mary's, Alexandria, VA, with . See you there?

Catholic Amish: Leaving or Leaven?

I have been speaking to some people about what I call the "moat mentality" among lay people of a certain ilk. Too many trads fall into this category. These people want to be "Catholic Amish", forgetting that their call is not to leave the world but be leaven in the world.

Leaving or Leaven?

The Bruderhof movement is a great example of community, but it is based on heretical ideas that the entire world is evil. Of course, this idea is either Manichean or Calvinism (or the modern equivalent-Christian Scientism, which believes that all matter is evil).

Heresies which hold that the world is evil see all matter as fallen and not redeemed by Christ.

Catholics believe in the opposite, that God recreated the world on Calvary.

The confusion is in the term "the world". Yes, the immorality of "the world" leads us astray, but the response of the Catholic is not to leave but to be leaven.

If a group developes a "moat mentality", that group becomes a cult.

This last century witnessed the rise of cults, including Christian cults.

Now, I was in a community for seven years. This was an urban community of 2,000 people. On the whole, the experience proved to be beneficial to my spiritual growth, and especially to developing a life of discipline.

This group was not cultic. However, many cults attracted people of my generation, people who wanted both a spirituality and structure.

Sadly, too many traditional Catholics have become cultic. A cultic group demands that all women dress alike, or that all people pray the same prayers.

Cultic behavior many times encircles a strong personality, such as a strong priest, who is treating his flock like children and not leading them to become adults.

Too many cultic leaders shine in the glow of specialized groupings. This "cult of personality" provides a false security which takes people away from God, away from the Church, and away from their own adult responsibilities.

An adult is one who takes responsibility for his own spiritual life without depending on either a spiritual director or a priest.

To become holy, one must become a responsible, spiritual adult, (a theme of this blog).

If one leaves the mainline Church and becomes cultic, one's soul is in grave danger. One then has a tendency to be more Roman than Rome and more holy than the saints.

None of the saints fell into cultic behavior. Those who were lay people, such as Louis and Zelie Martin, remained in the world as "leaven".

They did not leave the world, but changed it. Such is the call of the lay saint.

Is it hard to stay in the world and be a saint? Yes, but that is our call.

The Tablet ALWAYS forgets that The Church Condemns Socialism

Looking Ahead

A clever mom asked me advice on what to do if home schooling becomes illegal. Short of immigrating to Greenland, I think one could consider these possibilities.

One, starting a home schooling school, which I tried to do in this area with another mom six years ago. The talk I presented to moms and dads attracted about 130 people. We divided a discussion group into high school and elementary school children and parents. The idea was to have me and others pool resources to have a school based on home schooling, or just classes. Of course, with the tyranny of the Common Core and the fact that the new ACT will reflect the CC, parents may not be able to avoid some rules.

Two, a school may be started easily. I highly suggest looking at the NAPCIS site. I helped start up several grade and high schools from scratch, as well as a college. This is easier than one would think.

Three, setting up a long-distance learning company and include students at home or in home schooling schools which would be legal in some states.

The most important thing, however, is to train your children in the virtues early in order to become saints, now. If the tyranny in the US continues, your children will be taken away from you.

Look at my long series on virtue training and home schooling from last summer.

Look for the deluge...or something similar;_ylt=AwrSyCN4VDRTWhcA55vQtDMD

Good article on Rome today

Today in Rome

The Trad Blind Guides

Most of the people I know in Iowa and Illinois live in denial. The traditional Catholics form a group from varied backgrounds, but many refuse to admit to the signs of the times.

Christ Himself told us we would be persecuted, and the Church has seen this over and over and over.

If you are watching daily news on television, you are being duped. If you are not praying for discernment, you will be deceived. If you are sinning and refuse to repent, you will not have the discernment to see what God is telling all of us.

I hear the laity weekly blaming the priests for abandoning their flocks. What about fathers and lay leaders abandoning their wives and children to the world?

St. Timothy in this short passage warned us.

2 Timothy 3:12

12 And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution.

I cannot convince people who are in denial about the role of the Catholic laity in days to come. All I can do is to teach people how to become holy in order to face these days.
Why are there so many trad Catholics who are refusing to face what is happening across the globe concerning the daily martyrdom of Christians?
Why are Catholics who are traditional sending their children to schools which have adopted Common Core?
You will lose your children to the evil one if you do this. They will be indoctrinated to the point where they will turn against you.
That parents and single people act as though everything in this country is the same scandalizes me.
When times get tough, old people will be tempted to suicide, and young people will capitulate to the new world order.
Yet, talk after Mass is full of trivia, as if the powers of evil have not begun a huge assault.

Wake up, trad Catholics, please.
Your souls and the souls of your children are at stake.
Do you think that merely going to Latin Mass will save you without good works, without working on daily holiness in your families, with your friends?
Do you think that the saying of the rosary will protect your children from brainwashing if you send them to Common Core schools?
Do you think and talk about things and money more than thinking and talking about God and His ways?
Do you think you are going to live in the same world, in the same manner as your parents?
It is the duty of the parent to protect the child, and it is the duty of the laity to try and change society.
But, if people are not admitting the evil is growing and forming a circle around them, they may perish, spiritually.
Pray for those who cannot see, or worse, do not want to see, the signs of the times.
God has warned us in history, in the Scriptures. Any prophet crying "Peace in our days" is false. Anyone not forming children in the way of virtue will be judged harshly by God. Anyone thinking that the forms of religion are enough to save one, is no better than the Sadducees and Pharisees.

Matthew 24

24 And Jesus being come out of the temple, went away. And his disciples came to shew him the buildings of the temple.
And he answering, said to them: Do you see all these things? Amen I say to you there shall not be left here a stone upon a stone that shall not be destroyed.
And when he was sitting on mount Olivet, the disciples came to him privately, saying: Tell us when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the consummation of the world?
And Jesus answering, said to them: Take heed that no man seduce you:
For many will come in my name saying, I am Christ: and they will seduce many.
And you shall hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that ye be not troubled. For these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be pestilences, and famines, and earthquakes in places:
Now all these are the beginnings of sorrows.
Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall put you to death: and you shall be hated by all nations for my name's sake.
10 And then shall many be scandalized: and shall betray one another: and shall hate one another.
11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall seduce many.

12 And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold.
13 But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved.
14 And this gospel of the kingdom, shall be preached in the whole world, for a testimony to all nations, and then shall the consummation come.
15 When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place: he that readeth let him understand.
16 Then they that are in Judea, let them flee to the mountains:

17 And he that is on the housetop, let him not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18 And he that is in the field, let him not go back to take his coat.
19 And woe to them that are with child, and that give suck in those days.
20 But pray that your flight be not in the winter, or on the sabbath.
21 For there shall be then great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be.
22 And unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be saved: but for the sake of the elect those days shall be shortened.
23 Then if any man shall say to you: Lo here is Christ, or there, do not believe him.
24 For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect.
25 Behold I have told it to you, beforehand.

26 If therefore they shall say to you: Behold he is in the desert, go ye not out: Behold he is in the closets, believe it not.
27 For as lightning cometh out of the east, and appeareth even into the west: so shall the coming of the Son of man be.
28 Wheresoever the body shall be, there shall the eagles also be gathered together.
29 And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be moved:
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all tribes of the earth mourn: and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with much power and majesty.
31 And he shall send his angels with a trumpet, and a great voice: and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the farthest parts of the heavens to the utmost bounds of them.
32 And from the fig tree learn a parable: When the branch thereof is now tender, and the leaves come forth, you know that summer is nigh.
33 So you also, when you shall see all these things, know ye that it is nigh, even at the doors.
34 Amen I say to you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.
35 Heaven and earth shall pass, but my words shall not pass.
36 But of that day and hour no one knoweth, not the angels of heaven, but the Father alone.
37 And as in the days of Noe, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, even till that day in which Noe entered into the ark,

39 And they knew not till the flood came, and took them all away; so also shall the coming of the Son of man be.
40 Then two shall be in the field: one shall be taken, and one shall be left.
41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill: one shall be taken, and one shall be left.
42 Watch ye therefore, because ye know not what hour your Lord will come.
43 But know this ye, that if the goodman of the house knew at what hour the thief would come, he would certainly watch, and would not suffer his house to be broken open.

44 Wherefore be you also ready, because at what hour you know not the Son of man will come.
45 Who, thinkest thou, is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath appointed over his family, to give them meat in season.
46 Blessed is that servant, whom when his lord shall come he shall find so doing.
47 Amen I say to you, he shall place him over all his goods.
48 But if that evil servant shall say in his heart: My lord is long a coming:
49 And shall begin to strike his fellow servants, and shall eat and drink with drunkards:
50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day that he hopeth not, and at an hour that he knoweth not:
51 And shall separate him, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.